Jobs unveils iPad 2: sleeker, more powerful, same price

If the launch of Apple's iPad 2 tablet computer was expected today, the appearance onstage of ailing CEO Steve Jobs was not. And it set the tone for the entire event: he was welcomed by a standing ovation.

As many predicted, the new iPad is thinner and lighter than the original, packs a powerful dual-core processor and will, Jobs promised, ship in black and white on Day One. Prices, expected by some to drop, are staying unchanged. The new hardware comes with a new version of the iOS operating system, dubbed iOS 4.3.

ANALYSIS: iPads storm the enterprise 

Early reports that the iPad 2 might be delayed proved false: the new tablet ships March 11 in the U.S., and March 25 in many other countries. (Speculation swirled earlier in the day that the RIM PlayBook might play an iPad 2 spoiler, but rumor is the enterprise-focused tablet won't ship until April 10.)

Jobs, who is on medical leave though was seen last month at a tech executive dinner with President Barack Obama, seemed thinner than usual, in his customary faded jeans and black turtleneck. But that was the only sign of his unidentified affliction: he had numbers readily to hand, and made his points quietly and authoritatively. The numbers show Apple's remarkable emergence as a leader, possibly the defining company, in what Jobs called a "post-PC" world.

Apple's greatest hits under Steve Jobs

Apple has just paid out over $2 billion to iOS developers, and recently shipped the 100 millionth iPhone (and iPhone 5 fever is already rolling) . The majority of Apple's revenues now come from post-PC products: iPhone, iPod touch, iPod, and iPad.

Inside iPad 2

As expected, iPad 2 sports a dual-core processor, Apple's custom-designed A4 chip. It delivers up to twice the performance of the A4, and is nine times faster in graphics performance. Jobs predicted it will be "the first dual core tablet to ship in volume."

Dual-core Android tablets have been announced, but are not due to ship until later in 2011. Full iPad 2 specs are online.

The new Apple tablet is "dramatically thinner" than the original: at 0.34 inches, compared to 0.5 inches for the original tablet. That revelation drew another round of applause. It's also lighter: 1.3 pounds instead of 1.5 pounds, "You might not think that's a lot, but when you get down to 1.5 pounds, a tenth of a pound is a lot," Jobs said.

It is marginally narrower and a smidgen shorter than iPad 1: at 7.31 inches x 9.5.

There will be six models, three with Wi-Fi, three adding 3G, including 3G CDMA, enabling iPad users to employ Verizon's data services, for example. All have the same storage options: 16G, 32G, 64GB.

Pricing is unchanged, starting at $499. Jobs noted that five of the six models will be less than the $799 of most of the iPad's announced rivals.

Battery life is unchanged: 10 hours, with a month of standby.

Accessories include an innovative "Smart Case," that is held in place by magnets that auto-align the covering over the tablet screen. It takes only a second to put it on. Polyurethane cases are $39 and leather cases are $69.

Another accessory is HDMI video output, via a dock accessory cable, priced at $39.

The new version of iOS, 4.3, available on March 11, brings a dramatic performance boost for the Safari browser. Apple took the Nitro JavaScript engine from Mac OS X and moved it to iOS. The result, according to Apple, is that JavaScript runs twice as fast as before.

The new OS release will also enable iTunes home sharing: media files stored in iTunes on a Mac can be accessed from an iOS device via Wi-Fi.

Finally, iPad 2 adds two cameras, front and rear facing, and support for Apple's FaceTime video chat application. The new iPad can use Wi-Fi to make video calls with any other iOS device supporting FaceTime, which means nearly all of them.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Configuration / maintenanceiPad 2PCNetworkingwirelesshardware systemstablet PCslaptopsData CenterApple

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?